Saturday, November 06, 2010

Multimedia on the cheap: Xtranormal and Toondoo

When it comes to recruiting, one of the most important things an organization can do is make themselves stand out from other employers. And one of the best ways to do this is by using creative multimedia technologies that demonstrate both creativity and an openness to innovative approaches.

I've written before about some of the exciting technologies out there that employers can use for this purpose, such as simulations and realistic videos. But today I'd like to talk about two more abstract--but perhaps more fun--websites that are easy to use and have a lot of potential.

Oh yes, and they're free (for the basic version). Free is good.

The first is You may have seen some of these videos on YouTube or elsewhere, as it seems to rapidly have become the technology of choice for creating quick animated videos. They have both a web-based design option ("text-to-movie") as well as a more fully featured downloadable version called State.

As the designer, you simply choose a setting, the number of actors, and type in the script. The website adds computer-generated voices for you. You also have control over other features, such as the camera angles for each scene, emotional expressions, and sounds.

Now I'm no designer--as you will quickly see--but I was able to make this video in all of about 10 minutes*.

If you're intrigued, also try which is similar but I found to be slightly more cumbersome to use.

The other technology is slightly more old school--panel cartoons. Yes, like the ones you see in the paper.

Here's an example, which took me about 10 minutes using Toondoo:


Neither of these websites are perfect. You'll find there's a small learning curve, and you'll wonder why they made certain design decisions. But there really is no reason not to at least try some of these tools.

*Note: In my day job I'm an HR Manager for the California Attorney General's office, but this blog is neither sanctioned nor supported by my employer. For better or worse, these animations were entirely my creation. But what kind of recruiter would I be if I didn't use this opportunity to promote, promote, promote!

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